Where to source affordable art

10/20/2017 08:46:00 am HELEN STILES 0 Comments



I spent a fantastic day at the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea yesterday, which is a brilliant way to see lots of original art (and artists). If you've only ever hung family photos or chainstore prints on your walls then you should definitely think about adding some real art too. Nothing adds personality and individuality faster than some much loved art. Now I'm no professional curator, and I own nothing like as much art as I'd like to, but I want to prove that you can source affordable art and share some of my favourite sources.

You don't have to be a zillionaire, you don't have to 'know' anything about art, you don't have to buy things 'as an investment' (although if they happen to go up in value then great) and you don't need a degree in art history. The most important thing is to BUY WHAT YOU LIKE. You're the one who's going to be looking at it for years to come, so don't worry about what anyone else thinks. In fact if it's a bit quirky or provocative then at least you've got a conversation starter!

GO ORIGINAL

There are plenty of places to source original paintings and photographic prints at reasonable prices. The prices at the Affordable Art Fair yesterday ranged from £100 to several thousands. I came away with a painting by Natasha Barnes for £200 which I love and can't wait to have framed! There are affordable art fairs around the country – just google what's going on in your local area and put the dates in your diary. Other great sources for original art are:


*Graduate shows – usually held in the summer, this is where students sell their work and you can snap up some real bargains.
*Etsy has some fabulous artists selling direct. You do have to sort through a huge variety, not all of which is great, but there are many hidden gems.
*Ebay is another great source of affordable art. If you find a dealer you like it is worth bookmarking their store and checking back regularly for new artwork they have to offer (I found the large painting at the top of this post on eBay).
*Charity shops/antiques markets often have hidden gems. You can often find affordable old paintings for sale that might look great hung as a collection.  You just need the patience to collect pieces around a particular theme – for example portraits or seascapes.
*Saatchi online is brilliant for searching a more curated collection of original works (and prints). The range is huge, but they do make it easy to source affordable art by allowing you to search by size, orientation, colour and price. It also 'learns' your likes and dislikes and so makes personalised recommendations.

LIMITED EDITION PRINTS 

These are a cheaper alternative to originals, and because the number of copies is limited you have the benefit of knowing that you won't see the same piece everywhere. The smaller the total edition size, the rarer your print! Limited edition prints can be more likely to increase in value (if that's your thing).

*Tappan collective is a fantastic US website with lots of really reasonably priced originals as well as a great photographic section. (they ship internationally).
*Soma gallery have a great range of modern prints, mostly with quite a clean, graphic aesthetic.

POSTERS

Posters can make great artwork if you choose carefully. Vintage travel posters, such as those produced by London Underground, were designed by iconic artists of their day and make great wall displays. Posters from exhibitions you've visited are another affordable and personalised way of adding art to your walls (or source vintage versions on eBay).

A NOTE ON SIZE

Whilst huge paintings look amazing, if you're on a tighter budget then don't underestimate the power of a smaller piece of art. A tiny painting hung off centre on a huge wall can make a fantastic impact and help stretch your budget. Playing with scale keeps a room interesting and will actually draw attention to the art itself.

So there you have it – no excuses for living with a) ubiquitous over-copied prints or b) no art at all (!!!) There are plenty of places to source affordable art that you'll get pleasure from every day, so get hunting!

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